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Predictions for top NFL free agents

With the NFL Playoffs underway, the next step is the offseason and the signing of free agents. In this article, we will take a look and predict the destinations for 25 upcoming free agents.

QB Dak PrescottDallas Cowboys

My Prediction: Dallas Cowboys

Following a strong season with 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns, Prescott is one of the young gun-slingers to hit the market this year. Prescott has proved to be a franchise-caliber quarterback over his career throwing for over 15,000 yards and 97 touchdowns since 2016. With the Cowboys signing Ezekiel Elliot for big money, Jerry Jones should look to keep Prescott to have the balance of a strong run/pass game. However, there are teams who are in need of a young quarterback and could come in and meet Prescott’s high demands.

QB Drew BreesNew Orleans Saints

My Prediction: New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints franchise cornerstone and star is going to turn 41 in about a week. The Saints were upset at home by the Minnesota Vikings in the Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs. Does this mean the NFL record holder for passing touchdowns and passing yards want revenge? Brees has proved that he can play at an elite level with his age and can easily come back and make one more Super Bowl run. Brees joined the team in 2008 and means everything to the city. He helped them through Hurricane Katrina and won a Super Bowl. It would be surprising to see the future Hall of Famer play in any other uniform than the Saints.

QB Tom BradyNew England Patriots

My Prediction: New England Patriots

Following a loss in the Wild Card Round to the Tennessee Titans, Brady will become an Unrestricted Free Agent for the first time in his career. This season, Brady’s numbers dropped this season, throwing for just over 4,000 yards and 24 touchdowns. After a rough season, the greatness of the Bellicheck/Brady duo is in question. Brady said it is “unlikely” to retire and wants to continue playing. The Patriots have to address the offense this offseason and get some more weapons receiving. The other question is if Josh McDaniels leaves for a head coaching job, will Brady want to work with a new Offensive Coordinator. If Brady is to return for another season, it would be shocking to see him anywhere else besides New England.

QB Jameis WinstonTampa Bay Buccaneers

My Prediction: Carolina Panthers

Over his career, Winston has proved to be a quarterback who can win football games with his strong arm and legs but has a huge issue with turnovers. Winston led the league in passing yards this year with 5,107 but led the league in turnovers with 42 (30 INT, 12 FUMB). With two of the leagues top wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, free-agent quarterbacks could be attracted to Tampa Bay, leading to Bruce Arians and the Buccaneers from office could look to move on from Winston. A team that could be in on Winston is the Carolina Panthers. Winston has similarities to Cam Newton with a big arm and mobility. Carolina is in need of a quarterback and could look to Winston to get back to the winning ways with a strong-armed quarterback.

QB Ryan TannehillTennessee Titans

My Prediction: Tennessee Titans

Tannehill just made his playoff debut, upsetting the Patriots in Foxborough. Tannehill is now 8-3 as a starter for the Titans after taking over for Marcus Mariota in Week 7. Since taking over, Tannehill has led the league in passer rating and has turned the Titans into a threat in the AFC, alongside Derrick Henry. The Titans have expressed a want to keep Tannehill long-term. Expect the Titans to use the franchise tag on the 31-year old quarterback, with the ultimate goal to get a deal done.

QB Teddy BridgewaterNew Orleans Saints

My Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After the loss of Drew Brees, the Saints turned to Bridgewater, who went 5-0 as a starter. His undefeated record as a starter convinced multiple teams he can be their long-term quarterback. The Saints are probably going to lose out on Bridgewater after a strong showing in his five starts. The team that can look deeply at Bridgewater is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bridgewater has a strong arm and mobility, like Winston, but doesn’t turn the ball over often. Bridgewater has the talent to be the franchise quarterback for the Bruce Arians and the Buccaneers, taking the offense to the next level. The Buccaneers have a very attractive offense for quarterbacks as Bridgewater would have plenty of weapons, including two of the top receiver in the entire league in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Even though the team is also in need of a running back to improve the running game, Bridgewater could be the answer at quarterback to propel them to the next level.

QB Phillip RiversLos Angeles Chargers

My Prediction: Indianapolis Colts

After a disappointing season for the Los Angeles Chargers, Phillip Rivers may have played his final game in a Charger uniform. Rivers is going to be a free agent, looking to fight for the starting job. The Indianapolis Colts fell apart, following a 6-3 start to the season. The Colts ended the season 7-9, and it appears that the team has lost confidence in Brissett after signing an extension. The Colts could look to bring in Rivers to fight for the starting job or could serve as a solid backup if Brissett were to regress more. Rivers has also had success with Colts head coach Frank Reich as well throughout his career.

RB Kenyan Drake- Arizona Cardinals

My Prediction: Arizona Cardinals

Since being trading from the Miami Dolphins to the Arizona Cardinals, Drake took off. In 8 games with the Cardinals, Drake rushed for 643 yards and 8 touchdowns, along with 171 receiving yards. He took over the No. 1 role in the backfield and excelled, tallying 3 games with over 100 rushing yards, including a 137 yard, 4 touchdown performance in week 15 against the Browns and a 166 yard, 2 touchdown game in week 16 against the Seahawks. It would be shocking to see the Cardinals let Drake walk following the trade that sent a conditional draft pick to the Dolphins and his strong performance as a Cardinal.

RB Melvin Gordon- Los Angeles Chargers

My Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Following a holdout that lasted through week 4 of this season, Melvin Gordon split time with teammate Austin Ekeler. Gordon and the Chargers had negotiations that went nowhere and led to his holdout. Gordon wanted at least 10 million from the Chargers, who would not cave to his demands. Gordon had a down year this season, rushing for 612 yards and 8 touchdowns. Gordon excels most when he has the backfield to himself, not splitting carries. The Buccaneers are in need of a top back as Ronald Jones is still young and developing. With the weapons that the offense possesses, adding Gordon gives them more star power and gives it a new look to balance the run game and pass game.

RB Austin Ekeler- Los Angeles Chargers

My Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers

Ekeler performed really well in the absence of Gordon for the first four weeks. Ekeler gained 993 yards and 8 touchdowns through the air this season, really proving to be a great pass-catching back. Ekeler had 557 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns this season, but after week 4 the most carries Ekeler had in a game was 12 against the Packers in week 9. With Ekeler’s performance this year, he proved that he can be the starting running back and workhouse for the Chargers. With Ekeler being a Restricted Free agent, not many teams will want to lose the draft pick to sign him, so the Chargers are more likely to let Gordon walk and sign Ekeler to be the starting running back.

RB Derrick Henry- Tennessee Titans

My Prediction: Tennessee Titans

The league-leading rusher in the regular season is about to get paid this offseason, and the Titans will not let him walk. Derrick Henry has been the catalyst for the Titans offense. In the last 8 weeks of the regular season, Henry rushed for 810 yards and 10 touchdowns. Tannehill has resurged the Titans offense, but Henry has kept the engine running with his incredible second half. In the Wild Card game against the Patriots, Derrick Henry had 204 total yards and 1 touchdown, rushing for 182 and Tannehill passing for 72 yards. Derrick Henry is the workhorse back that has revitalized and carried the Titans offense. Henry could become the highest-paid running back in the league this offseason, and the Titans will not let him slip away.

WR Amari Cooper- Dallas Cowboys

My Prediction: Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are looking to lock up Dak Prescott for the future, will they have enough money to re-sign Amari Cooper? Cooper has said that he loves Dallas and wants to return to the Cowboys. Cooper had over 1,000 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns this season. Cooper is an elite receiver that gives Prescott a top target. Upon his arrival in Dallas following his trade from Oakland, Cooper immediately became the top target. Losing Cooper would definitely hurt the Cowboys, but Jerry Jones is going to do all he can to make sure he doesn’t lose any of the trio for the Cowboys’ dominant offense.

WR A.J. Green- Cincinnati Bengals

My Prediction: New England Patriots

Green did not play a down in the 2019 season, but when healthy, he is a top receiver in the league. Green has played in 6 seasons where he has appeared in at least 11 games, and in each one, he has had 1,000-yard seasons. The New England Patriots are in dire need of receiver help. There have been rumors in the past linking A.J. Green to the Patriots via trade, but nothing ever happened. The Patriots need to get receiver help, regardless of their quarterback next season. Adding A.J. Green immediately improves their receiver core that has Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, and N’Keal Harry. To get Tom Brady back, he needs help at the receiver position, A.J. Green could be that weapon to bring Brady back for another season.

WR Emmanuel Sanders- San Francisco 49ers

My Prediction: San Francisco 49ers

After being traded to the 49ers, Sanders has been a key player for the offense. on 36 receptions, Sanders has 502 yards and 3 touchdowns. going into the deadline, the 49ers needed to add a wide receiver to give the offense another weapon besides George Kittle. Deebo Samuel has been a good addition from the draft but adding Sanders really helped spread the field for the offense along with the running game. The 49ers are going to look to keep Sanders after giving the Broncos a third and fourth-round draft picks. Sanders made the offense more dominant and a bigger nightmare for defenses.

TE Austin Hooper- Atlanta Falcons

My Prediction: Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons are going to have plenty of competition for the services of Austin Hooper this offseason. They will have to pay a lot to keep the playmaking tight end in Atlanta, which they are willing to do. The Falcons don’t have a ton of cap space but will use what they have to keep the star tight end to play alongside the dynamic wide receiver duo of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Hooper has been a reliable option for Matt Ryan and his consistency has made him a dependable option for Ryan in Atlanta.

TE Hunter Henry- Los Angeles Chargers

My Prediction: New England Patriots

Even though Henry has struggled with injuries throughout his career, he has been a reliable option for Phillip Rivers. One of the biggest weaknesses for the Patriots this year was a tight end with the loss of Rob Gronkowski. Hunter Henry could be a great replacement for Gronk and elevate the offense for New England. The offense for the Patriots this past season was one of the weakest for Brady, and to become more dominant and contend in the AFC with the new wave of young quarterbacks, the Patriots need to add more weapons for the offense.

OT Anthony Castonzo- Indianapolis Colts

My Prediction: Indianapolis Colts

The Colts have had one of the best offensive lines for the past couple of seasons and Castonzo has been a huge part of that. The Colts long-time starting left tackle has been one of the league’s most reliable blindside blockers since entering the league in 2011. There will be plenty of interest in Castonzo from multiple teams, but the Colts have about $107 million in cap space and will use it to keep their homegrown talent. It will take a lot of money to keep the former first-round pick, but Irsay and the Colts will dish out the money to sustain the success of their offensive line and protect their quarterback.

G Brandon ScherffWashington Redskins

My Prediction: New York Jets

The Jets offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL this season. According to Pro Football Focus, the Jets offense ranked 28th in the entire league this season. The signing of star running back Le’Veon Bell failed because the offensive line couldn’t hold for Bell as the team averaged 0.7 yards rushing before contact, which ranked last. Along with that, they allowed pressure in 2.5 seconds or less on 27.5% of their dropbacks, which ranked the second-highest in the league. The line needs help and adding Scherff immediately upgrades the line and helps both Bell and Sam Darnold.

OLB Jadeveon Clowney- Seattle Seahawks

My Prediction: Seattle Seahawks

There is no possible way the Seahawks allow Clowney to walk after acquiring him before the season. The Seahawks have more than enough cap space to get a deal done for Clowney, who has proven to be a human wrecking ball for Seattle this season. The stats are deceiving with 3 sacks and 31 tackles as he has been all over the field for the Seahawks. The former No. 1 pick appears to be happy in Seattle and would not be opposed to staying long-term. Plenty of teams are looking to add help to their front 7 attack, but John Schneider will not let the Clowney walk away after giving up a  third-round pick, pass rusher Barkevious Mingo and DE/OLB Jacob Martin.

EDGE Shaquil BarrettTampa Bay Buccaneers

My Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After signing a one year, $4 million deal with Buccaneers before this season, Barrett has a beast for the defense this year. Barrett led the league in sacks with 19.5 sacks, 19 tackles for loss, and 37 quarterback hits. Barrett was the heart and anchor of the defense this season. During his time with the Broncos, Barett was still effective and played well, but took it to another level this year. The Buccaneers are going to throw the franchise tag on Barrett with the ultimate goal of locking him up long-term.

DE Yannick Ngakoue- Jacksonville Jaguars

My Prediction: Atlanta Falcons

Ngakoue was a force for the Jacksonville defensive line this year with 8 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. The Atlanta Falcons had one of the worst defensive lines in sacks, ranking 29th with 28 the whole season. Ngakoue could be a great addition to the team as he was all over offensive lines and quarterbacks the whole season. The weakness of the Atlanta Falcons is the defense and one way to improve the defense is to add Yannick Ngakoue to the defensive line and play alongside star linebacker Deion Jones.

DT Chris Jones- Kansas City Chiefs

My Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs

This season the Chiefs defense took a major step forward. A huge part of that is the presence of star DT Chris Jones. Jones, who missed three games this season with a groin injury, tallied 9.0 sacks and 20 QB hits. Jones is set to make a ton this offseason. The Chiefs want to sign MVP Patrick Mahomes to a record-setting contract extension, so there are doubts of a Jones deal. Jones is a huge part of the defense, alongside Frank Clark. For the Chiefs to keep the defense Steve Spagnuolo has created, you must sign Chris Jones to a long-term extension. Jones has expressed his want to be a Chief for bis entire career, and now it is up to Brett Veach to make it happen.

CB Byron Jones- Dallas Cowboys

My Prediction: Baltimore Ravens

The Cowboys have other key free agents to sign (Dak and Cooper), meaning that Byron Jones is probably going to be in a different uniform. Overall, the cornerbacks market this offseason is not too spectacular, but Byron Jones is one of the best corners to hit the market. Multiple teams are in need of cornerback help, and with little top-tier talent, teams are going to offer big money to Jones. However, Jones wants to go to a Super Bowl contender, which could mean taking less money to go to a top team. The Ravens are in need of a cornerback. Even though the pass defense has been very good this year, the defense is the weakness of the Ravens and an upgrade for the
Ravens is to go after Jones. It is not the most likely destination, but if Jones wants to go to a top team in the league, why not join the shoe-in MVP and a solid defense.

CB Chris Harris Jr- Denver Broncos

My Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs

It is pretty obvious that the Denver Broncos are not very interested in paying Chris Harris Jr. a lot of money. A team that is in need of a cornerback is the Kansas City Chiefs. Bashaud Breeland is a free agent, and while the Chiefs do not have the money for Byron Jones, Chris Harris is still a great option for cheaper. Harris is also a former Kansas Jayhawk and has a clear connection to Kansas City. The Chiefs have had an interest in adding him via trade the past couple seasons, but nothing has happened, so does Veach pull the trigger? The Chiefs do not have a ton of money but can maneuver things around and add the veteran corner who will improve the pass defense more. Adding Harris puts the already-improved Chiefs defense in an even better spot for the 2020-2021 season.

S Justin Simmons- Denver Broncos

My Prediction: Denver Broncos

One of the most underrated safeties in the NFL had a huge breakout player of 2019, Justin Simmons has emerged as one of the top defensive backs set to be available this offseason. Over the past four seasons, Simmons has 268 total tackles, 11 interceptions and 27 passes defended, which is terrific production for a young safety. The Broncos are going to prioritize Simmons over Harris and lock him up long-term. Simmons is one of the top developing safeties in the league and the Broncos are going to want to lock him up with the youth that is administered throughout the entire team.

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